This untamed dangerous gypsy with the morality of an alley cat, cannot bear Don Jose’s protective but stifling love. Underscored by Bizet’s celebrated music, — “It is rare that a piece of music is so much a part of our psyche,” as it has gone far beyond the opera world.
Go to a restaurant, and its background music. "Carmen’s defiant spirit shines in bold, expressive dance, with the hint of Picasso cubism in this tale. Mistresses and wives successively served as Pablo Picasso’s muses, but they were not enough. He also sought inspiration from fictional women. And who better than Carmen to personify the themes of sex, love, violence, tragedy and death that run through so much of his work?It is also no surprise that the bullfight would emerge in so many of his drawings and paintings: Bullfighting is of course ever present in Picasso’s work, not only because he was a fervent aficionado (he frequently attended corridor Arles in southern France), but also because he used it as a metaphor for the animal passions driving human behavior, including his own.
In Mérimée and Bizet too these parallels are self-evident: Carmen is killed outside Seville’s bullring by her jilted lover, Don José, just as her new lover, the matador Escamillo, is slaying a bull inside the arena. The story is set in Seville, Spain, circa 1830, and concerns the vixen beauty Carmen, a Gypsy with a fiery temper. Free with her love, she woos the corporal Don José, an inexperienced soldier. Their relationship leads to his rejection of his former love, mutiny against his superior, and joining a gang of smugglers.
WORLD PREMIERE: 2002